Japan's House of Representatives on Saturday approved a 112.57 trillion yen ($750 billion) draft budget for the next fiscal year starting in April to boost the nation's defense capabilities, help households cope with inflation and assist recovery efforts in areas hit by an earthquake on New Year's Day.

The budget put forward by Prime Minister Fumio Kishida's ruling camp is the country's second-largest ever, smaller only than the 114.38 trillion yen requested in fiscal 2023.

The lower house, controlled by the ruling coalition of Kishida's Liberal Democratic Party and Komeito, cleared the bill after deliberations at the Budget Committee, in which the opposition grilled the premier over the party's ongoing political funds scandal.

Enactment of the fiscal 2024 budget is now certain, as the ruling bloc also dominates the House of Councillors, and the Constitution mandates that a budget is enacted 30 days after approval by the lower house in the event of unresolved differences between the two chambers.

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida raises his hand during a House of Representatives Budget Committee session in Tokyo on March 2, 2024. (Kyodo) ==Kyodo

Kishida told the committee session the budget "contains content deeply related to the recovery from the Noto Peninsula earthquake and people's lives."

After the Noto Peninsula earthquake in central Japan, the government in a rare move revised the budget it endorsed in December, doubling the amount of emergency funds to 1 trillion yen. The plan also includes subsidies for companies to raise salaries amid inflation and record defense outlays of 7.95 trillion yen.

The ruling parties had intended to move it through the lower house on Friday, but instead spent time voting down a resolution to dismiss Budget Committee chairman Itsunori Onodera and a no-confidence motion against Finance Minister Shunichi Suzuki.

Both votes were brought on by the main opposition Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan which has been critical of the LDP after revelations about a factional slush fund scandal has caused public consternation in recent months.

LDP lawmakers, particularly members of a faction led by the late Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, have been under fire since late last year over their involvement in a years-long practice of creating slush funds with revenue from fundraising events and not declaring money received as income.

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